Rachel Maddow has said twice tonight that Barack Obama needs
to make a clean break from the Bush administration and should not continue to
have meetings and photo ops with Bush appointees. She also said that he needs to
develop an economic mantra.
I like the idea about the mantra/motto/slogan and would welcome suggestions, but I think he’s really
helping himself by making certain that he’ll become more comfortable to people who may
still feel undecided about his candidacy. That, I think, is the whole point of
these economic education moments.
Obama likely wants to maintain some sense of continuity
regarding economic policy, largely to make certain that folks who are uncertain
of his candidacy can feel confidence in him and, critically, can imagine him being
President. The idea of voting for a Black man still feels really new for lots
of Americans. That’s an important consideration given how many toss up states
there really are this fall and how close the last two Presidential elections have been. (Everyone focuses on Florida and Ohio but consider how many states were/are close to flipping; every purple state matters in November.) Perhaps this won’t be relevant to many of the
voters who live on the coasts or metropolitan areas who are accustomed to
having people of color make decisions about their lives, but asking Americans to
elect a Black man is still a significant challenge. For folks who rarely interact with Black people, Obama’s candidacy is
representative of a radical shift in their concept of America. Obama is very
wise to make certain that his campaign provides clear examples of stability
even in the midst of some deeply progressive rhetoric. Some of us really need that.